Reborn Dolls: Everything You Need to Know

Reborn baby dolls are special, multipurpose products that are popular among children, doll collectors as well as women suffering from a loss of a child. They are called this way due to their intricate details. Every reborn baby doll is made to be realistic and to resemble a new-born human baby.

History of reborn babies

First items of this kind were created during the 1930s. Initially, it was a hobby and toys were produced by a small number of artists. As people wanted more realistic dolls, artists started making beautiful dolls that would look like a real baby or a reborn toddler. In short amount of time, it became a new art form and the best reborn babies were being sold for lots of money, with a price ranging from a couple of hundreds of dollars to several thousand.

While the business of creating lifelike dolls lasted for a while, it experienced expansion during the 1990s. Reborns became a popular online item and there is a whole society of enthusiasts that sell them this way. You can also find them at certain fairs. There is a group called The International Reborn Doll Artists or IRDA which is meant to regulate the market and make sure that every member artist upholds to certain ethical standards.

As previously mentioned, this cute product was initially supported by the collectors and today, there are people all over the world who simply love these dolls. The phenomenon gains in popularity and it received lots of coverage in mainstream media. Today, there are magazines and conventions that are focused on this line of products.


our baby dolls collection

Creation of reborn baby dolls

First and foremost have in mind that these are custom-made items; each one has a specific body type and size, head, hair, eyes, and other parts. There are baby boy dolls and girl silicone babies and they have various skin tones. Of course, it is easy to distinguish a reborn baby girl from a boy toy based on the outfit. Besides their clothes, artists will also sculpt genitalia in order to differentiate the kids. Some artists allow even more customization and are prepared to make dolls based on photographs. This can especially help women who lost their child.

Vinyl is used as a basis for a doll. Artists use different doll kits and things such as material, size, and shape determine its popularity and ultimately, the price. Some dolls are easier to paint and modify such as those manufactured by Lee Middleton, Apple Valley, Zapf, and Berenguer Babies. The supplies (baby kit) are very important for the creation process: if a set is made from the top quality materials and has a shape which resembles a real baby, it will help create a more realistic doll.


Terms newborning and reborning refer to the process of modification; if a doll manufacturer has already created a baby which resembles a real child, the artist will not be able to modify it.

Doll manufacturers recognized the trend and started creating kits that can easily be used later on and modified. Of course, this also led to new products, supplies, and tools. Doll manufacturers even have instruction videos that can help new reborn artists.

Basic kit has lots of different parts such as limbs, eyelashes, weighted pallets, faces, fake tears, glue, foam wedges etc. While all of these items come with a kit, there is also an option to buy them separately. Some of them are completely optional such as the hair which is usually rooted by hand (artists resort to various things such as using mohair, wigs or human hair). Eyes are also special as the artist sometimes has to purchase them in a specific color and size.

Creation process

There are numerous things that an artist has to do during newborning:

  • Removing factory paint and taking a doll apart

  • Blue color wash may be added for more realistic skin

  • Artist may have to replace the eyes or open mouth a bit 

  • Painting the outer layer of a doll

  • Sometimes, doll parts will be heat set by using a heat gun or by placing them into the oven

  • Previously used blue color wash will add to the realism of the doll by making it look like it has veins

  • Additional effects may be used in order to give it a better life appearance

  • Nails and nostrils are added next

  • Next, the artist will add hair to a doll by wigging or rooting

  • The original vinyl body is weighted with a soft stuffed body filled with pellets/fine glass beads/fiberfill

  • Weight has to be close to the baby’s age so that optimal results are achieved

  • Heads are also weighted so that a person would have a more natural feeling when placing a doll in hand

  • There is also an option of adding a magnet that can support pacifier

  • Electric device may also be added to a doll so it mimics breathing and heartbeat

  • Based on customers wishes, the artist can add some other parts such as umbilical cord, heat pack, baby fat, sound pack that will create baby sounds and so on

The full process can take some time. Its length depends on all the additions as well as the realism that a customer wants. It also depends a lot on whether a realistic baby is "born" with a cloth body with silicone arms and legs or with a lovely full silicone body

Conferences, organizations, and collecting

As previously mentioned, The International Reborn Doll Artists or IRDA was the main association that deals with reborn baby dolls. It was established on January 21, 2005, during the first conference of its kind. Besides the regulatory role, the organization also takes care of education and advanced courses. Like with similar organizations, members will receive all the latest news regarding new techniques, materials and so on. It also gives them an opportunity to connect with each other.

A reborn artist can join the organization at any time, without any limitation in regards to experience or skill. However, IRDA has a strict ethical code when it comes to marketing and doll descriptions.

While there are various people who buy reborn dolls, hobbyists are the most common clientele. These realistic silicone baby dolls can easily be bought online and sites such as eBay or artist’s online store (often referred to as a nursery) have them for sale. There are also numerous stores that sell doll kits. A potential customer has to pay attention to numerous things including:

  • Skin tone that is too dark will indicate that a doll was dyed too much or that colored sand was used for weighing

  • Certain materials will not react well when in contact with vinyl causing a doll to deteriorate. This is why a person has to check the material which was used for weighing

  • Shining will indicate acetone washing which will cause issues when painting a doll

  • A person has to check all the parts that have been used and whether the original ones where changed somewhere along the line. If the materials have been changed, this might affect proportions. It’s also necessary to have the same materials for all reborn baby parts

  • Check whether the artist left a tiny mark. This is a good way to establish authenticity

  • Eyes, size, alignment as well as fitting have to be checked

  • Natural imperfections (similar to ones that a real baby would have) can indicate quality

  • Hair, nails and nostrils can also be important and can indicate the quality of work.

Conferences and conventions are held for several years now. The first one was held in Orland, Florida in 2005. They are often paired with collectible fairs and conventions given that both of them are visited by hobbyists. When it comes to publications, Doll Reader Magazine is regarded as the most influential magazine in the industry being published for more than 25 years.

Issues with reborn baby dolls

Dolls that are reborn are not the same as the regular dolls; people usually don’t buy them as a gift. Instead, buying a doll is similar to adoption where dolls often come with a birth certificate.

They are mostly bought by older women and they serve two functions:

Reborn dolls are popular among women who have lost a child and have trouble coping with the fact. This is precisely why these dolls sometimes get negative feedback from the society. Realistic features of reborn dolls are meant to create an empathic response in women and may even help their mental health. However, this also poses a problem for some people and is precisely why you won’t find reborn dolls in regular department stores but instead, they are sold online.

Reborn dolls for coping with a loss

When it comes to utilizing these dolls as babies, they are usually bought by women who:

  • Had a miscarriage

  • Had a stillbirth

  • Had a neonatal loss

  • Cannot adopt

  • Suffer from not having a baby in the house

Dolls are used as a substitution and some buyers use them in this capacity treating them as they would a real child. In other words, they would wash the hair, dress it up, take it for walks and so on. Some people would cuddle with them each day. Scientists connect this to release of hormone oxytocin which regulates happiness.

Another issue with reborns is that some people create an emotional bond. Experts claim that this can be very dangerous and suggest against such behavior. However, there are also some indications that these dolls can help traumatized people who lost their baby during or after a pregnancy.

Things to know regarding reborns' therapeutical impact

If you're really suffering and want to buy a reborn as a way to cope with your loss, we recommend that you perform the necessary research beforehand. First and foremost, parents should subject themselves to child bereavement counseling. This would help them establish whether or not these dolls could help them and to which extent. According to many experts, the collecting process itself can present some challenges. Usually, they are concerned about parents who used dolls as a method of socialization. This is especially true if a person becomes secluded and starts spending more and more time in a company of dolls. 

Still, the opinions are split regarding overall usefulness of reborn dolls for suffering parents. Limited use of reborns can be good; it may prove to be most useful for parents who want some form of nurturing but don't actually want to have a child. Or, if one parent wants a child and the other one doesn't. They also might provide to be useful to an extent when dealing with a loss. But, you have to be very careful; relying too much on dolls can be a clear indication that you haven't resolved your issues. In such a case, it is much better to subject yourself to therapy than try to cope by having a reborn as this can pull you deeper into depression 

Another field where reborns may prove to be useful is when caring for elderly patients. At this point in time, there are numerous retirement homes in the USA which are using reborn babies as a method of helping their residents. Elderly people are dealing with all sorts of issues, both physical and mental, and they need something to relieve the daily pain. Also, there are those who need socialization and a helping hand. In such cases, dolls prove to be a good relief and are especially useful for patients dealing with dementia. 

Buying a reborn doll

These cuties can be great gifts for your family or you can play with them yourself. Some people simply can't resist having a sleeping reborn nearby!

You can buy newborn realistic baby dolls on our site. We offer lots of sweet models in our shop; feel free to browse the store and find just the right doll that you like. Please, note that we also offer 100% FREE SHIPPING to the United States with each order.

If you wish to read more about reborn baby dolls, make sure to visit our blog. Contact us through email or via our Facebook page if you have any additional questions. Join our community and share a photo or a video with your favorite reborn! 


  • I love reborn dolls.

    bebe reborn
  • Hey Savannah, our shipping to the United States is completely FREE of charge. If you order a doll via our site the delivery to Maine will be 100% free :) Thank you.

    Nikolay Stoyanov
  • How could it be very expensive prices delivery into Maine and individual family members prices


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